Extradition Act 2003

The Extradition Act 2003 (EA 2003) entered force on 1 January 2004, and applies to all extradition requests received after that date. It created a scheme which was intended to reflect and implement the Framework Decision of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant (“the Framework Decision”), set out below.

Requests received before 1 January 2004 continue to be governed by the Extradition Act 1989.

The EA 2003 introduced the European Arrest Warrant (“EAW”) into law in the United Kingdom: an arrest warrant valid throughout all Member States of the European Union.

Once issued, an EAW requires another Member State to arrest and transfer a criminal suspect or sentenced person to the issuing state so that the person can be put on trial or complete a detention period.

Part 1 Territories

EAW extradition proceedings are regulated by Part 1 of the EA 2003, which applies only to requests from category 1 territories, which are comprised of EU Member States, and Gibraltar.

The National Crime Agency (“NCA”) is the UK’s designated authority for dealing with Part 1 extradition requests and is responsible for the receipt and certification of EAWs. The NCA will only issue this certification if it is satisfied that the requirements of section 2 of the EA 2003 have been met.

Once an EAW has been certified, the individual can be arrested. Once arrested, the individual must be brought before the court as soon as practicable. At the initial hearing the judge must confirm the identity of the requested person, inform them of the relevant extradition procedure and will fix a date for the extradition hearing (unless the requested person consents to their extradition).

The following are category 1 territories:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Part 2 Territories

Part 2 of the EA 2003 governs requests from countries outside of the EU with which the UK has extradition arrangements, known as category 2 territories. Requests from these countries need to be authorised by both the Secretary of State and the courts.
Requests from category 2 territories are sent first to the Home Office. The Secretary of State for the Home Department will consider whether the request is valid (that extradition is sought for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing the requested person and that the request has been made by a competent authority) and if these criteria are satisfied then the Secretary of State will certify the request and ask the court to issue an arrest warrant.

The court will consider this request, and if it is satisfied that the relevant information has been supplied, an arrest warrant will be issued. The Metropolitan Police Extradition Squad is responsible for arresting the individual sought under that request. Once the individual has been arrested they will be brought before the court as soon as practicable and, among other things, a date for the substantive extradition hearing will be set.

The following are category 2 territories:

Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Azerbaijan, The Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bonaire, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, Brunei, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Cook Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Fiji, The Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Greenland, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Haiti, Iceland, India, Iraq, Israel, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Macedonia (FYR), Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Montserrat, Nauru, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, Russian Federation, Saba, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekalia (that is to say, the areas mentioned in section 2(1) of the Cyprus Act 1960), Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Virgin Islands, Western Samoa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Territories which do not appear as either Part 1 or Part 2 territories can still make an extradition request to the UK, and the request will be dealt with as if it were a Part 2 request. This is referred to as a “special extradition arrangement”.

Part 3—Part 5

Part 3 of the EA 2003 governs extradition to the UK from category 1 territories and also provides limited provisions relating to extradition from category 2 territories. Part 4 encompasses police powers in extradition cases. Part 5 is a miscellaneous provision, and includes international conventions and ad hoc arrangements.